Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2018: Vanessa Reed

Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2018: Vanessa Reed

As the Music Week Women In Music Awards return on November 9, so too does the Roll Of Honour, recognising outstanding achievements across all corners of the industry. Join us as we gather this year's inductees to hear their remarkable stories...

VANESSA REED
CEO, PRS FOUNDATION

How do you feel about joining the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour?

“Very honoured. It’s important that the Women In Music Awards are drawing attention to female talent in the industry and it’s great to be recognised alongside the many brilliant women who’ve been highlighted in this list over the past few years.”

How did you get into the music business?

“Through a passion for new music. I studied music from a young age and realised fairly quickly that I wanted to support artists and composers rather than become one myself.”

Did you have a mentor or role model who helped you in the early part of your career?

“I never really had one specific mentor. In my early years at the Foundation I was lucky to have advice and guidance from some brilliant Trustees such as Paulette Long, Estelle Morris, Nigel Elderton, Simon Platz and Sally Taylor, who are still there if I need their help. My mum is the one who inspired me to make music my career. She was always playing the piano in our house so putting music at the centre of my life just seemed like the most natural thing to do.”

What do you consider to be the biggest achievement of your career?

“Growing and transforming the Foundation over the past decade so that we can support over three times the number of deserving music creators and organisations that we could when I joined. Diversifying the artists we fund and launching Keychange to empower female talent has also been a hugely rewarding step forward as it grows into an international movement and is welcomed as a campaign that needed to happen.”

Some of the gender pay gap figures for the music industry made for sobering reading. How far away is parity of opportunity and remuneration for women in the UK music industry?

“The stats show there’s a long way to go before we reach parity but it’s good to see how quickly large companies are responding and how important the government’s decision to implement pay reporting has been. The artists and industry professionals taking part in Keychange want to see this rule applied to smaller companies as well. They are also calling for more transparency around artist fees as part of our manifesto for change.”

Have things improved during your career? What more needs to be done?

“Things are definitely improving. In the decade I’ve been at PRS Foundation, the music and other creative industries have moved from denial of inequality and lack of awareness to a wider reaching debate and proactive approaches to investing in talent of all backgrounds. What needs more work? Senior leadership and boards, a reimagining of the workplace and conditions for women with children. More target-driven policies so we can measure where we are now, and where we want to be in five or 10 years.”

The issue of sexual harassment in the entertainment industries continues to dominate the news agenda. Is the music business doing enough to tackle the problem?

“The UK industry hasn’t really had its #MeToo movement yet. There’s been a huge collective uprising in Sweden, where 2,000 women signed a petition condemning sexual harassment. The debate about it seems to be less open here and it would be good if men and women across the industry could help to open things up. We need to recognise fully what’s happened in the past before we can move forward and make sure it’s different for the next generations.”

What advice would you offer young female executives about enjoying a successful career in the music business?

“If you have a passion for music, don’t let anything get in your way and make sure you put yourself forward for any opportunities that inspire you. If you fail or don’t quite get what you want at every stage that’s fine. Try again and don’t be put off. The industry needs your talent and different perspective.” 

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